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Nelson Shanks, painter of presidents and royalty, dies at 77

Published 31/08/2015

Artist Nelson Shanks poses beneath his portrait of Pope John Paul II at his Bensalem studio (AP)
Artist Nelson Shanks poses beneath his portrait of Pope John Paul II at his Bensalem studio (AP)
Former US president Bill Clinton, left, looking up at his portrait by Nelson Shanks (AP)

Nelson Shanks, renowned for his portraits of prominent figures ranging from presidents to royalty, has died at the age of 77.

Shanks died on Friday at his home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, according to Bill Wedo, spokesman for the Studio Incamminati art school Shanks founded with his wife, Leona.

Shanks painted well-known figures such as the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Pope John Paul II and presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

The artist and his portrait of Clinton made news earlier this year when he told the Philadelphia Daily News that he included a subtle reference to White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the work.

Shanks told the paper that a shadow beside Clinton is a literal reference to Lewinsky's infamous blue dress and a symbolic nod to the shadow the affair cast on his presidency.

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